I never realized until a few years ago just what an astonishing man my father is. Many men would be intimidated by having a daughter, but my father jumped in with both feet. Looking back now, I realize that he gave me so many gifts. These are just a few:
My journey toward an adoption mindset started a long time ago, but I didn’t realize it until I watched Hotel Rwanda.
I’d heard about adoption often. My friend told me that I should read Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore, and asked me to help her brainstorm about how to begin a foundation that might be able to help families afford the cost of adoption. Another friend had a heart to work with orphans in third-world countries. A couple in my church, after years of infertility, successfully adopted an adorable little girl. Some friends of ours adopted multiple times from all over the world, combining a family of children with Asian, African, Hispanic, and Caucasian roots. My work at a crisis pregnancy center put me into contact with adoption agencies in the area, since adoption is a beautiful (and often undervalued) option for women facing unplanned pregnancies.
I had always considered adoption a wonderful thing, but it didn’t personally impact me until about a year ago.
Having written about how to confront someone lovingly, I feel it is important to add a postscript to the discussion, and that is: It is not our job to change the other person. It's simply our job to communicate with the other person. Change is up to God.
Over and over, I see people (particularly women) reinterpret the idea of lovingly confronting someone into subtly manipulating someone to change. Let me explain how this works, and why it can be a relationship-killer.
In one of the autobiographical stories by Scottish veterinarian James Herriot, he describes how he courted a beautiful young woman named Helen. Jim was impressed with Helen’s kindness toward her aging and lonely father, whose wife had died some years before. Jim then reminded his young male readers that, when they consider a woman for marriage, they should take a passing glance at how she treats her father, because that is how the woman will treat her husband someday. Jim’s instincts were right, because the kindness, respect, and skill that Helen had given to her father were brought into her marriage with Jim.
"Do you know who is going to be most sad when Yaasha marries someday?"
When my mother asked this of my father, I sat up straighter in the back seat of the car and tried to pretend that I wasn't listening with all my might.
"Who?" Daddy asked. Yes, who? My mind echoed.
"Asher. Those two are always doing something together, and he seems to really enjoy the time she spends with him, and to listen when she talks to him."
A wiggle of pure delight danced in my chest. My brother Asher is almost 11 years my junior. So while I'm in my mid-20s, he's in his mid-teens. That age gap is often a huge hurdle for siblings. For my brother and I, it's just another reason to spend more time getting to know each other.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.